One of the major drawbacks of paper industries has always been the excessive use of wood pulp for the paper production. For past one and a half years I have closely worked with one of the best paper recycle facility in Nepal.
And I have never looked at paper the same way again.
Baba Cardboard PVT. Ltd. in Bhaktapur, Nepal recycles paper and produces nearly 10 tonnes of Kraft paper in a span of 12 hours. Kraft paper is a packaging material that gets its name from the Kraft pulping process, pioneered by Carl F. Dahl of Germany in the 1880s.
Normally, in the manufacture of paper, wood is ‘pulped’ (ground to a pulp) first, but Dahl found that treating the cellulose pulp with certain chemicals increased the strength of the paper. He called his paper Kraft paper – Kraft in German means “strength” (PakFactory, 2019).
This packaging material uses used papers and cartoons instead of the wood pulp for a more sustainable and environment-friendly manufacturing model. Kraft paper is thinner as compared to cardboard to meet the purpose they serve. Kraft paper and cardboard are widely used to make cartoon boxes, base for the paper plates, paper bags to name the few.
The Manufacturing Process
The overall manufacturing takes place in multiple stages. It starts with the collection of raw materials which constitutes of waste paper, cardboard, egg crates, cartoons, and kraft paper itself. As per the small study conducted by the engineers in this factory, “Recycled paper can be either manufactured ‘in-line’ (pulp and paper produced in one process) or recycled pulp can be produced and transported to a paper mill for paper production. The process adopted by the factory is 'in-line'.
It takes approximately 1.2 tonnes of waste paper to produce 1 tonne of recycled paper.
A belt conveyor tosses the sorted waste papers into a turbine where they are mixed with water to separate fibers, ink and other components. The result of blending of old papers into the solution creates the pulp. The pulping is followed by screening, de-inking, cleaning and coloring, wet section, pressing, drying and finally cutting of the jumbo reels of the Kraft paper.
Along with its interesting in-line sustainable and environment friendly manufacturing model, the factory had put an effort in the minute details for the protection of the environment.
The location from where the factory is presently running is quite far from the city and is surrounded by a small jungle and is a home to few leopards and various birds. The company itself pledged to keep the jungle safe, with no encroaching and deforestation in the area.
Also, this is a project that is completely based on recyclable papers and cardboard, the processes are chlorine free which is to say they use the Process Chlorine Free (PCF) method along with a bio-degradable cleaners.
It also uses approximately 5000-6000 kgs of rice chaff for the heat energy for drying of the pressed pulps. Then, the rice chaff ash, the residue is distributed for free among the locals in a regular basis for agricultural purposes and few locals sell it for their livelihood.
Moreover, as a small help, farmers are allowed to use the transportation-weighing machine before dispatching their goods to the market. And one of the major influences have been the knowledge among the locals regarding the fact that paper can be recycled, thus most of the locals sell the waste paper of their house to the factory and in return the factory pays the market value to it.
The factory has altogether 70 working members and almost all of them besides the engineers who are responsible for the plant functioning are the locals, it has created an employment opportunity within a community and this has helped women the most because of the feasible distance between the home and the work.
The Kraft paper and cardboard manufactured are sold within and outside the valley. They have been providing their goods altogether to 25 other paper based manufacturers. With a tough competition in the market, they have been able to sustain with an eco-friendly values and functioning for a decade already.
My work experience has changed the way I look at a paper recently. Just like the locals, I make sure that all the papers that has been used in the house be it cardboard, cartoons, paper bags or anything that has paper on it, is dispatched for recycling. I have also come to realize that we view a paper as something so trivial and throw it before even putting a thought on reusing or recycling it. But it is because of this factory I have learned that by recycling waste papers, I am also indirectly helping save billion cubic of trees that are cut down yearly for the wood pulp in paper manufacturing.
If a profit-based industry can work so much on keeping its whole manufacturing model sustainable, every household should put an effort to bring about the change be it in a small level. Therefore, recycling papers has been my small initiative to cut down the paper waste so that I can contribute in saving the greenery.